Fuel Efficiency Tips

How can regular maintenance help your fuel economy? Low tire pressure, a clogged air filter, or worn or fouled spark plugs can lower gas mileage. So can aggressive driving, excessive idling, driving over the speed limit, or using the car’s A/C system. 

Your car’s owner’s manual is the best source of information for the maintenance needs of your vehicle. The Car Care Council provides additional resource guides on regular car maintenance in English and en español

By taking these three simple steps, you’ll find your wallet and the planet will thank you.

Young DIYer Spotlight: Brianne Visaya, 21

Last, but not least, say hi to Brianne! Brianne is a MESA and Honors student at Los Medanos College as well as a Student Ambassador. She is studying Environment and Civil Engineering. Brianne grew up with respect for nature. She grew up in Japan, where the culture is strongly connected to nature. She learned how to change her oil from a family friend when she was 18 because she “was eager to learn something new.” Brianne says,”It’s essential to protect nature because it’s a gift. A gift that shouldn’t be taken for granted! Because nature knows how to adapt and preserve even without humans.” She loves to hike and camp in local nature preserves and national parks when she’s not struggling with physics problems. She wants young DIYers to know that change is slow, but every time someone changes their habits we can enjoy Earth’s nature just a little bit more!  

Young DIYer Spotlight: Sonia Bustos, 20

Meet Sonia Bustos! Sonia is also a student at Los Medanos College studying Biology. She recycles because she cares about the ecosystem. As a Biology major, she understands the bioethics behind the human intervention. “Bioethics is the moral discernment brought about by advances in Biology and medicine and should be taught in every STEM class,” says Sonia. On days when she isn’t in the lab room, she loves exploring Yosemite National Park and seeing El Capitan. She tries to recycle as much as she can to help the environment. This is one of the main reasons why she learned to change her own oil and recycle the oil and filters. Sonia wants to encourage and inspire children and young adults to be environmentally aware.  

Young DIYer Spotlight: Manny Pantoja, 20

Say hi to Manny Pantoja! Manny currently lives in Brentwood and is a current student at Los Medanos College, hoping to transfer to UC Davis in Communications. He is very active in the community as a member of Puente and a Student Ambassador. When asked if he recycled, he replied,” Recycling is a big part of my culture. Not being wasteful and respecting where things come from are values everyone should have towards the environment.” In addition to his parents teaching him to recycle, his high school was also a big factor! Manny was part of Freedom’s leadership program and creating posters takes up a lot of paper, so recycling was a unique factor of the school. Freedom High School took pride in recycling and keeping the community clean. Manny thinks that encouraging others to recycle and recycling is a common courtesy. So for all the young generations out there, listen to Manny and go help your community by recycling!

Five Surprises about Motor Oil and Recycling

Used motor oil is one of the most dangerous waste sources in the state of California. Just the oil from one oil change can pollute up to one million gallons of water and here in the state of California, we generate about 115 millions of gallons each year! In an effort to address the problem of oil pollution, it has been illegal to dispose of used oil in the trash or by pouring it down a drain since 1987. The laws were also strengthened with the passing of Oil Recycling Enhancement Act in 1991, which was designed to discourage the illegal disposal of used oil. This law requires oil manufacturers to pay to CalRecycle $0.26/gallon through December 31, 2013, of lubricating oil sold in California. On and after January 1, 2014, the fee decreases to $0.24/gallon. Registered industrial generators, curbside collection programs, and certified collection centers are eligible to receive an incentive payment from CalRecycle.

The reasons why everyone should care about motor oil recycling are the following:

1. Motor oil never wears out:
Oil doesn’t wear out; it just gets dirty. So, used oil can be cleaned, re-refined and used again and again. Used motor oil can get back to full useful life after extracting water and contaminants out of it.

2. It’s a major environmental danger:
Because it contains heavy metals and toxic chemicals, it endangers the aquatic environment and wildlife when it streams down to the lakes and rivers.

3. Even more ways to save:
In addition to the regular used motor oil recycling, more used motor oil can be found in automotive filters. The state of California generates about 67 million used automotive filters every year. Each filter not only generates 10 ounces of used motor oil, but also provides 1 pound of recyclable steel. That is why it is extremely important to recycle automotive filters too rather than disposing them in the trash.

4. Free money (!) & Collection Centers:
California has over 3,000 certified used oil collection centers and you can get 40¢/gallon when you turn in your used oil. To find a collection center near you, you can visit click here.

5. It’s easy!
There are three easy ways you can recycle used motor oil in California: Certified collection centers, Curbside pickup, and Hazardous waste facilities. Generally, collection centers are the most popular system out there but the curbside pickups are more effective. You can find out more about such locations in the East Bay here.

To produce 2.5 quarts of new oil, it takes only 1 gallon of used oil. In other words, 62.5% of each gallon of used oil can be refined into new oil.

So, start recycling motor oil today!